A dedicated Dorset churchgoer was awarded the Aldhelm Cross for exemplary service to the Diocese of Salisbury.

Alan Neades was one of five lay people presented with the prestigious award by Bishop of Salisbury Nicholas Holtam during Sunday Choral Evensong at Salisbury Cathedral.

The award, named after the Saxon Bishop who was instrumental in bringing Christianity to southern England, is awarded annually to those who have given selfless service to the diocese over a number of years.

Since 1999, Alan Neades has served as Secretary to the Dorchester Deanery Synod.

He has also served on the Diocesan Synod for 15 years until 2015, including a spell as a member of the Diocesan Board of Finance.

In his own parish of St Mary the Virgin, Piddlehinton, Mr Neades is, and has for many years, been a churchwarden and organist as well as foundation governor, cleaner, pastor, worship leader and occasional preacher.

After presenting the awards, the Right Revd Nicholas Holtam said: “All those who receive the Aldhelm Cross have given worked well beyond the call of duty for the good of the Diocese of Salisbury and the whole community.

“The health of our communities depends on the willingness of men and women of all faiths and none to give of their time and talents in selfless ways. I am delighted that so many people from our churches are at the heart of that.”